OCH officials address concerns over CEO hire

OCH Administrator Jim Jackson (left) and OCH Board of Trustees Chairman Linda Breazeale

SDN Editor

Leadership at OCH Regional Medical Center on Tuesday responded to concerns from some in the community regarding the recent hire of new hospital administrator and CEO Jim Jackson. 

Multiple media outlets reported in March that the Greenwood Leflore Hospital Board of Trustees, where Jackson was previously CEO, ousted the 54-year-old executive by a 3-2 vote, opting to not renew his contract.

He had served in the role since 2009.  He was one of six candidates interviewed for the lead role at OCH and came with a recommendation from outgoing CEO and administrator Richard Hilton. 

WATCH: OCH introduces Jim Jackson as CEO

According to reports, GLH board member Larry Griggs released a statement after the decision saying “The actions taken last night (March 20) with the firing of Jim Jackson and having no apparent plan of action made it clear to me majority of the board is acting on emotions and behaving in vindictive manner. It is easy to put the blame on one person when times are difficult, but I think it will soon be realized that Jim Jackson is not the problem.”

The board members who voted to not renew Jackson’s contract could not be reached by press deadline on Tuesday night.  Jackson was named as the replacement for Hilton on Monday, which was also his first day on the job in Starkville. 

The Delta Business Journal reported in May that a recent financial audit of Greenwood Leflore Hospital showed the hospital lost $22 million as the result of Medicare and Medicaid funding cuts, making it the second consecutive year that the hospital sustained a multi-million-dollar loss. 

Hospital leadership at OCH stood by the decision and said the issue was known during the interview process.

“We were aware of Mr. Jackson before the contract issue came up at Greenwood Leflore, and his qualifications didn't change when three members of his board withdrew their support for him,” OCH Board of Trustees Chairman Linda Breazeale told the Starkville Daily News on Tuesday. “We look forward to seeing what he will accomplish here at OCH.” 

Jackson also stood by his qualifications after the move to Starkville.  "I had a successful 19 years at Greenwood Leflore, and I look forward to applying my years of experience in health care and success in building relationships with all stakeholders to assist OCH in continuing to provide the highest quality of care possible to the people in this area," Jackson said.